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Publication numberUS3263592 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 2, 1966
Filing dateNov 22, 1963
Priority dateNov 22, 1963
Also published asDE1604878A1
Publication numberUS 3263592 A, US 3263592A, US-A-3263592, US3263592 A, US3263592A
InventorsHickey Frank D, Katsuji Hirahara
Original AssigneeFmc Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for processing fatcontaining solids
US 3263592 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Y. 5.. S. mm N. WD wr mm m N F". D. HICKEY ETAI- APPARATUS FOR PROCESSING FAT-CONTAINING SOLIDS @gillHHHIHHIIIIIIIIIIIHHIIIIHHI III HHIIIIII HIIHIIIHIIIUIHLHI Aug. 2, 1966 Filed Nov. 22, 1963 KATSUJI HIRAHARA ATTORNEY 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 F. D. HICKEY ET AL Aug. 2, 1966 APPARATUS Foa PROCESSING FAT-GONTAINING SOLIDS Filed Nov. 22, 1965 INVENTORS FRANK D. MICKEY ATTORNEY KATsuJl HIRAHARA Aug. 2, 1966 F, D, HlcKEY ETAL 3,263,592

APPARATUS FOR PROCESSING FAT-CONTAINING SOLIDS 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Nov. 22, 1965 INVEINTORS FRANK D. HICKEY KATSUJI XHIRAHARA ATTORNEY Aug. 2, 1966 F. D. HlcKEY ETAL 3,263,592

APPARATUS FOR PROCESSING FAT-CONTAINING SOLIDS Filed Nov. 22, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTORS FRANK D.` HICKEY KATSUJI HIRAHARA ATTORNEY APPARATUS FOR PROCESSING FAT-CONTAINING SOLIDS Filed Nov. 22, 1963 Aug. 2, 1966 F D, HlCKEY ET AL 5 She@izs--SheefI 5 ml mnh-HMI..

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INVENTORS FRANK D. VHCKEY KATSUJI HIRAHARA By )QQ/n i Z l ATTORNEY United States Patent O 3,263,592 APPARATUS FOR PROCESSING FAT- CONTAINING SOLIDS Frank D. Hickey and Katsuji Hirahara, San Jose, Calif.,

assignors to FMC Corporation, San Jose, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Filed Nov. 22, 1963, Ser. No. 325,668 9 Claims. (Cl. 99-235) This invention pertains to an apparatus for processing fat-containing solids such as animal fats, and more particularly concerns an apparatus for drying wet sticky material.

When animal fats, meat scraps, and the like are processed to recover tallow and high protein meal, one of the by-products is a sticky extract that is high in protein and is commonly referred to as stickwater. Since the commercial value of the meal as animal food depends upon its protein content, it is desirable that the high-protein stickwater be added to the meal. However, when stickwater is added directly to meal in large quantities, a sticky, viscous mass is formed which is very diiiicult to handle and is particularly diliicult to dry. If stickwater is added in small quantities, the addition of protein to the meal is insufficient to raise the protein content of the meal to the desired level. Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an efficient rendering system wherein the tallow produced is of high quality and the meal is of high protein content.

Another object is to provide an improved apparatus for rendering fat-containing solids.

Another object is the provision of an improved apparatus for drying wet sticky material.

Another object is to provide an improved apparatus for forming pellets or balls of granular material.

VAnother object is the provision of an efficient shaker mechanism.

Another object is to provide a simple, eliective apparatus for increasing the protein content of meal produced in a rendering process.

Another object is the provision of apparatus for adding protein to meal produced in a rendering process.

Other and further objects and advantages of the present invention will become lapparent from the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE l is a diagrammatic side elevation, partly broken away, of the rendering system of the present invention. v

FIGURE 2 is a diagrammatic plan of the system of FIG. 1.

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged diagrammatic side elevation of a portion of the system of FIG. l, with parts broken away to more clearly disclose the apparatus.

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged diagrammatic perspective of a portion of the `apparatus of FIG. 3.

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged diagrammatic plan of the apparatus of FIG. 3.

FIGURE 6 is a diagrammatic vertical section taken along line 6-'6 of FIG. 5.

FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary diagrammatic plan of a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1, the view being taken looking in the direction of arrows 7-7 of FIG. l'.

FIGURE 8 is a vertical section taken along line 8 8 of FIG. 7.

FIGURE 9 is a vertical section taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 7, certain parts being shown in elevation.

The embodiment of the present invention that is illustrated in FIGURE l comprises, in general, an inclined tubular pressure vessel 15 into which meat scraps, otfal and the like are fed through an inlet pressure valve 16.

3,263,592 Patented August 2, 1966 ice This raw material enters the lower end of the vessel 15, which is inclined at `about 10 to the horizontal, and is carried upwardly within the vessel by a helical conveying element 1S. While moving upwardly in the vessel, the raw material is subjected to the action of steam for a predetermined time such that the material is cooked before it is discharged through a pressure valve 17 which is identical to pressure valve 16.

The cooked material is deposited on a conveyor 30 which has a rotatable screw 31 that moves the material to the discharge end of the conveyor, and forces it over the end of the conveyor housing into a chute 32. The chute 32 directs the material into a rotary drum dryer 33. When the cooked material is discharged from the dryer, it is in the form of substantially dry meal but is low in protein. In order to produce a commercially acceptable product, it is necessary to increase the protein content of the meal and this is accomplished, in accordance with the present invention, by a meal-recirculating system whichwill be explained presently.

The pressure vessel or cooker 15 is a tubular member that may be of the type identified as a CPV pressure vessel and marketed by FMC Corporation of San J ose, California. The cooker comprises a cylindrical housing 35 having an upwardly projecting inlet conduit 36 at its lower end, communicating with the inlet pressure valve 16, and a downwardly directed discharge opening 37 at its upper end communicating with the discharge valve 17. The helical yconveying element 1S is formed around a tubular shaft 39 that is journaled tor rotation in the cooker housing. The shaft 39 is hollow and is arranged to be continuously ldriven during the processing operation through a chain and sprocket drive 40 and a variable speed motor-and-drive unit 41. A plurality of spray nozzles 43 are mounted on the tubular shaft 39, each nozzle communicating with the interior of the shaft to receive liquid which is delivered to the interior of the shaft through a conduit 44 that extends into a reduced diameter tubular end portion 45 of the tubular shaft 39. Since the shaft 39 rotates, and the conduit 44 is stationary, a swivel pipe joint must be provided between the shaft 39 and conduit 44. A suitable joint is shown in the Allen et al. Patent 2,330,197. Processing steam is directed into the vessel through one or more conduits 48, and suitable means (not shown) `are provided for controlling the pressure, the amount of steam, and the circulation of steam through the vessel.

The pressure valves `16 and 17 may be of the type dis- Icl-osed in the patent to William de Back No. 2,638,137. In general, each of `these valves includes a rotor 50 that is `driven by a motor (not shown). Each rotor has blades which deine pockets by which material is carried into or discharged from the cooker with a minimum amount of loss of pressure from the cooker.

While the cooked material is being discharged from the upper en-d of the cooker 15, a mixture of liquid protein and fat is being discharged .from the lower end of the cooker through a conduit 60 which extends through an opening 61 in the lower end wall o'f the cooker. During the cooking operation, fat and liquid protein accumulate in the lower end of the vessel so that a tioating surface `layer of liquid fat continuously drains out of the cooker through conduit 60. A disc 62 .is removably secured to a flange 63 on shaft 39. The diameter of the liange 63 is such that a clearance space is provided bet-Ween the periphery of the disc and the inner surface of .the houtsing o-f the cooker through which the fat and proteinaceous liquid can pass.

The fat that passes through conduit 60 is directed to `a decanter 64 in which the fat separates into a relatively light upper portion A off -fat or tallow and a relatively heavy lower portion B of aqueous protein which will be referred to hereinafter as stickwater. The decanter is descri-bed and claimed in the application for U.S. Letters Paten-t of Hirahar-a Serial No. 203,121 fi-led June 18, 1962, now Patent No. 3,211,535, which is assigned to the assignee of the present invention. A rendering system including a pressure cooker, -a decanter, and means for processing meal from the cooker, the fat or tallow A, and the stic-kwater B is disclosed in the application for U.S. Letters Patent of Hickey et al., Serial No. 211,761 filed Iuly 23, 1962, which is assigned to the assignee of the present invention. Reference may be had to said Hirahara land Hickey et al. applications for a co-mplete description of any similar parts of the present invention that are not specifically described herein.

As disclosed in said Hickey et al. application the fat or tallow A is removed from the decanter 64 and moved under the influence of the pressurized atmosphere in the upper end of the decanter through a conduit 65 to a cyclone unit 66 which causes steamand moist air to be discharged from the upper end thereof and causes the Itallow to move downwardly into a settling tank 67. A conduit 68 establishes communication between the interior of the decanter 6.4- and the interior of the cooker on the downstream side ofthe filtering disc 62 and, as a result, the pressure in the upper end of the decanter is maintained at substantially the pressure of the cooker 15. From the tank 67 the tallow is moved to a vacuum type, moisture-separator (not shown) where moisture is removed .and tallow is discharged, with a low moisture content of between 0.02 percent and 0.03 percent, and pumped to a storage container.

The stickwater B is removed from the deoanter 64 through an opening in 4the lower end that communicates with a conduit 72 leading to a pump 74. The pump lforces the stickwater through a conduit 73 that is connected by a pipe union 7S to conduit 44 that delivers the sticlcwater to the spray nozzles 43 inside the cooker. Accordingly, with this arrangement, a portion of the stick- Water leaving decanter 64 is sprayed into thematerial being moved upwardly in the cooker to wash fat from the material. Since the istickwater has a very low fat content, it is very effective for stripping fat from the material being cooked.

Another portion of the stickwater is directed into a conduit 76 which projects laterally from conduit 72 and is arranged to conduct the stickwater to a surge tank 77 which is provided with a discharge conduit 78. A valve 80 in conduit 76 is controlled by an interface control `unit 81 that is effective to open the valve 80 when the interface between the tallow portion A and the stickwater portion B rises above a certain level. When valve 80 is open, the sticklwater flows into the surge tank 77 from which it is removed by a pump 82 and delivered through a conduit 83 to a tank 84 in which a constant head of stickwater is maintained by means of a float that is disposed in the tank and is mechanically connected to a valve 85 in conduit 83. Any conventional float-controlled valve mechanism may be used, as for example a fioat 86 (FIG. 3), disposed in a fixed guide tube 87 and connected by a linkage 88 to the actua-tor of a valve 85.

Since the protein content of the meal is low and since sticklwater is high in protein, the stickwater in tank 84 is added to the meal by dispersing i-t in meal that has already been dried, and then recycling the protein-enriched meal through the drier. It has been found that, if stickwater is added directly to the dry meal in quantities such that the dry meal is substantially uniformly wetted with the stickwater, `a sticky mass is formed that cannot be efficiently dried in conventional industrial driers. A special feature of the present invention is the unique manner in which the stickwater is added to the dry meal so that the formation of sticky masses of meal is avoided, and the protein-enriched meal is put into a form in which it can be efficiently handled in standard industrial driers.

When meal leaves the drier 33, it is picked up by a `blower and discharged into a cyclone unit 96. In the unit 96, the meal works downwardly to the lower end of the cyclone where it is discharged onto a conveyor 97 which delivers it to a hammermill 98. Conveyor 97 may be of any suitable type such as an end-less belt `arranged to deliver the meal to the inlet opening of the hammermill. An endless belt conveyor 100 receives the meal from the hammermill and deposits it on the lower end of an upwardly inclined endless belt conveyor 102 that has upstanding, transversely disposed ights which carry the meal upwardly and discharge it into the upper open end of a storage hopper 104. A chute 105 projects from one side wall of hopper 104 and is provided with conventional gate means so that bags can be selectively filled from this chute. The pan 106 (FIGS. 3 and 5) of a Syntron vibrator unit extends under `an opening at one side of the bottom wall of the hopper 104 and is effective to continuously deliver dried meal to an elevating conveyor 107 which may be of an endless belt type having transverse pusher flights. The Syntron vibrator is an electrically operated unit that has a rheostat controlling the input to a motor whereby the amplitude of vibration or length of stroke may be varied to vary the rate of discharge of meal onto the elevator conveyor 107 and to start and stop the feeding of meal from the vibrator to the conveyor 107.

The elevating conveyor 107 delivers the feed into a chute 119 that leads to a hopper 120. The hopper is open at the top and has an opening 121 in its forward wall that is arranged to be partially closed by an adjustable plate 123. The plate 123 (FIG. 4) is held in adjusted position by a plurality of bolts 124 that extend through vertically extending slots in the plate 123 and through holes in the front wall of the hopper. The piate 123 is so adjusted that a layer of meal of predetermined depth, as for example 2 inches, is maintained on the upper surface of an endless belt conveyor 130. The upper run of the conveyor moves in the direction of arrow 131 and eventually discharges the meal onto the bed of a vibrating shaker unit 132.

In order to maintain a predetermined quantity of meal in the hopper 120, a rigid plate 133 (FIGS. 3 and 5) is secured to and extends downwardly from a rod 134 which is journaled for rotation in the upper end portions of the front and rear wall of the hopper 120. Counterweight 135 is adjustably secured as by setscrews to a short arm 136 that is welded to and projects outwardly from the rod 134. A mercury switch 137, which is secured to the end of rod 135, has contacts that are connected in the contro-1 circuit that supplies power to the Syntron vibrator. When meal is delivered tothe hopper 120 by the chute 119, it builds up in the hopper until it engages the plate 133 and swings it toward the side wall 138 of the hopper. When the amount of meal in the hopper approaches the desired quantity, the contacts of the mercury switch open to cut off the power to the Syntron vibrator and stop the feeding of meal to the elevator conveyor 107. When the quantity of meal decreases, the plate 133 is permitted to swing inwardly of the hopper and away from side Wall 138 until the mercury switch contacts close and start the operation of the vibrator. It will be apparent that the counterweight 135 provides means for varying the point at which the contacts of the mercury switch close. With the above arrangement, the hopper is supplied with meal in accordance wit-h the demand.

While the layer of meal is being advanced on the conveyor 130, a thin sheet of stickw'ater is directed downwardly onto the meal by means of a guide plate 140 (FIG. 4) that has a curved lower end which terminates close to the top of the layer of meal. Stickwater from the tank 84 is carried through a plurality of conduits 142 to an elongate container 143 that is mounted on a frame support member 141 and has a wall 144 defining a Weir over which the stickwater passes as it drops onto the guide plate 140. Since the head in the tank is constant, the rate of discharge of stickwater into the -container 143 yand over the Weir is substantially Constant. Accordingly, a thin curtain of stickwater is continuously deposited on the meal as the meal passes below the guide plate 140. The conduits 142 are secured as by clamps 145 or the like in a mounting block 148 that is adjustably secured on the frame support member 141 by a screw 149 which extends through a vertical slot in member 141 and is threaded into the block 148. By adjusting the block 148 in a vertical direction, the pressure in the conduits and the amount of liquid ilow can be varied.

The shaker unit 132 comprises a frame support structure made up of two side panels 160 and 161 (FIG. 5 Each panel includes an inverted U-shaped bordering member 162 (FIG. 6) made of relatively heavy tubular metal stock and a plate 164 that is welded to the inner edges of the member 162. The two panels 160 and 161 are secured to each other in spaced relation by a plurality of transverse bracing members 165 and by a plate 166 that is secured between two longitudinal tubular braces 168 (one only being shown).

A shaker bed 175 is mounted in the upper portion of the unit on four rocker arms 176 each of which is pivoted at its upper end on a stud 177 projecting from the adjacent side panel and, at its lower end, on a stud 178 projecting from .a side wall of the shaker bed. The shaker bed is made of heavy gauge sheet steel and includes two upstanding side walls 180 and 181 (FIG. 5) which are secured together in spaced relation by a bedplate 182 (FIG. 6), a top deck 183, an upper screening plate 184, a lower screening plate 185, and an irregularly shaped transverse plate 186 that extends across the lower edge of the shaker bed near the forward end thereof.

The shaker bed is reciprocated longitudinally of the unit by means of an eccentric drive mechanism 195 which includes an eccentric roller 196 keyed to a shaft 197 and held in a cylindrical hole 199 in a block 200. The block 200 is formed integrally with a connecting rod 202 that is pivotally disposed on a pin 203. Two identical short arms 204 (one only being shown in FIG. 6) lare rigidly secured to the bedpl-ate 182 and extend downwardly therefrom to support the pin 203 therebetween. The shaft 197 to which the eccentric is keyed is journaled for rotation in bearing blocks secured to the plates 164 of the side panel. A motor 210 is mounted on the lower support plate 166 and is connected in driving relation to shaft 197 through a shaft 211 and a belt :and pulley drive 212. Accordingly, when the motor is energized, the inclined shaker bed 175 is reciprocated back and forth, causing dry meal deposited on its upper end portion to be moved downwardly to the lower end.

A series of lbaffles 220-226 are secured in fixed position on the upper surface of the top deck 183. The baille 220 is about six inches high and has three anfgular disposed imperforate panels 220a, 220b, and 220C (FIG. 5) that define a pocket in which meal received from the conveyor 130 is temporarily detained. Each of the bailles 221-225 is about three inches high and has a plurality of spaced perforations therethrough that are approximately three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter covering substantially their entire area. As seen in FIG. 5, baille 221 extends inwardly from wall 180 and is inclined forwardly relative to the direction of movement of the meal in the shaker unit. Batlle 222 extends inwardly from side wall 181 and is inclined forwardly. 'I'he three baflles 223, 224 and 225 rare mounted in spaced relation in a line extended inwardly and forwardly from side wall 180. Batlle 226 is a solid member that is approximately one inch high and extends transversely of the unit from Wall 180 to wall 181. Accordingly, the meal must travel over the baille 226 while it can travel around the ends of bailles 2204225.

The uppermost screening plate 184 is provided with two solid transverse baflles 230 and 231 that are approximately one inch high. A baille 235, that is approximately `three inches high, extends inwardly and forwardly from side wall 1181. The lower screening plate y185i is provided with only one baille 236 that is a solid member about three inches in height. The baille 236 also extends inwardly and forwardly from side 'wall l181. The screening plates 184 and 185 are perforated throughout substantially their entire area, plate 184 having spaced perforations that are three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter and plate 185 having spaced perforations one-quarter of an inch in diameter.

As will be explained presently, as the meal progresses downwardly on the shaker bed, some of it is formed into small balls or pellets while the remainder passes through the screen decks 184 and 185 and is directed by the floor plate 1'86 into ya chute 250 (FIGS. `3 and 5) that is inclined downwardly toward a lo-wer end portion of the elevator conveyor 107. Accordingly any meal, that is not incorporated into one of the pellets, is elevated again and recirculated through `the pellet-forming mechanism. The pellets that are formed are directed, by the bailles 235 and 236 into a chute 25d which is inclined in a direction to guide the pellets into a second elevator conveyor 2'53. This conveyorl is also of the endless belt type and has transverse flights 254 adapted to retain the pellets on the movin-g surface of the belt as they are elevated.

As previously mentioned, it is desirable to add the stickwater resulting from the cooking operation to the meal to raise the protein content ofI the meal. However, it has been found that, if the desired quantity of stickwater is added to the meal and the wet sticky mixture is directed into a drier, an unmanageable sticky mass is formed which cannot be effectively dried. In accordance with this invention, the stickwater is added to meal which has been previously dried and then the mixture of stickwater and meal is so processed that pellets or balls lare formed that have a wet center or core and an enclosing layer or cover of dry meal. Then, when these pellets are directed into a drier, no sticky mass of material will form. Rather, the pellets will substantially maintain their generally spherical form and, as they move through the drier, the inner wet core will be dried so that the entire pellet is in a substantially dry condition when it leaves the drier. When this method is used, more of the stickwater can be added to the meal in a given time than is possible with any other method.

The manner in which pellets are formed will be explained with particular reference to FIGS. 5 and 6. As the layer of meal from the hopper is carried on the upper surface of the belt 130, a thin curtain of stickwater is directed downwardly onto its upper surface. The rate of flow of the stickwater and the feeding of dry meal is regulated so that a maximum amount of stickwater will be added to the meal; however, it cannot lbe added so fast that it will penetrate through the layer of meal and become stuck to the surface of the belt `130. When the lfeed of stickwater and meal is properly adjusted, some of the meal on belt is wetted with stickwater while some of it lremains dry. When the mixture of meal and stickwater drops oil the belt 130, it is deposited in the pocket formed by the 6" high baille 220. As the shaker bed reciprocates, the mixture works its way around the ends of the wing portions 220:1 and 220C and moves down the deck 183 to engage the perforated -bailles 2211 and 222. Due to the continuous vibrating of the shaker bed, the wetted portions of the meal separate and form nuclei about which pellets can be formed. As the wet nuclei engage the baille 221 and move downwardly along its slanted face, dry meal that is working its way down the deck `183 contacts the wet nuclei and forms a coating thereon. When the small pellets that lare thus formed pass around the lower end of baille 221, they are directed against baille 222. Mean- While, particles of dry meal move through the perforations of baffles `2211 and move downwardly along the deck to intercept ahe small pellets moving alongA the slanted baffle 222. Accordingly, the size of the pellets is increased. The same action takes place as the pellets move along ythe baffles 223, 224 and 225 and the dry meal filters through the perforations in baffle 222.

By the time the pellets reach the transverse baille 226 on the upper deck, they have attained the desired size which may be in the range of from 1/s to 1A in diameter. The pellets and dry meal work their way over baflle 226 and drop onto the screening deck 184. On this screening deck the small particles of dry meal pass through the perforations in the deck while the pellets work their way over baflles 230 and 231 and are directed by baffle 235 onto the lower screen 185. Again, small particles of meal pass through the perforations in the deck while the pellets are directed by baffle 236 onto the chute 4251 which guides them onto the second elevator conveyor 253.

The drier 33 may be any of several commercial driers. One drier that has proven successful is known yas a Model SD45-l2 three pass, direct fired rotary drier manufactured by the Heil Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In general, such a drier includes a gas-burning heater section 275 connected to a rotary drum section 276 by a large diameter, generally tubular conduit 277. The heater has suitable air intake passages and has internal partitions defining a combustion chamber and a separate bonnet which communicates with the large tubular conduit v277. The blower 95 draws air from the bonnet of the heater, through the conduit 277 and through the rotary drum section of the drier. This drum section may i-nclude three concentric rotating drums mounted on trunnions. Material directed into the drum section is disposed in the innermost drum rst, and successively passes through the other two drums until it is discharged into the central inlet opening of the blower 95 which conveys the material to the cyclone unit 96.

Since the pellets being elevated on conveyor 253 and the material being conveyed from the cooker on conveyor 30 must be directed into the drier through the same opening in the large conduit 277 and, since it is desirable that the pellets do not mix with the very wet material from the cooker, a two-passage, vertically extending conduit 285 is mounted on the conduit 277 over a large opening 286 in conduit 277. A vertical partition 289 extends across the inside of vertical conduit 285 to divide the interior into two passages 291 and 292. The upper end of the second elevating conveyor 253, overlies passage 291 and discharges the pellets into this passage, while the chute 32 at the discharge end of conveyor 39 overlies passage 292 for directing material into that passage. As the relatively heavy, wet material from the cooker enters the large conduit 277, it is caught up by the stream of hot air passing therethrough and is carried forwardly a short distance as indicated in FIG. 9 by arrow C. When the relatively light pellets drop into conduit 277, they are entrained in the hot air stream and carried forwardly a greater distance as indicated by arrow D. Thus the hot air stream automatically maintains the separation between the wet material from the cooker and the pellets.

As the pellets are tumbled in the rotating drums and are conveyed along the drier by the air stream, they are progressively dried and, when they reach the blower 95 they are substantially moisture free. Similarly, the material from the cooker is progressively dried and reaches the blower with very low moisture content. It should be noted that this material from the cooker is not particularly difficult to dry since it consists approximately of 40% soluble protein and 60% water, a large part of the greasy material that contains the stickwater having been separated out of the cooked product while in the cooker. However, since the greasy material has been separated out, the cooked product is low in protein and the stickwater must o ci be re-introduced into the meal. As is now evident, the

enclosing of the stickwater in balls or pellets in a casing of dry meal makes possible the efficient incorporation of the stickwater in the meal to form a product that is high in protein.

It will be understood that conventional support structures are provided for the various pieces of apparatus. Also, it is evident that the several movable members, such as conveyors, are driven through suitable well-known mechanisms such as individual, motor-driven sprocket and chain drives or from a common source of power through conventional drive mechanisms. The drive mechanisms and the motors are chosen so that a desired timed relation of the various operating members can be maintained, the motors being variable-speed motors if desired. In one installation where the shaker bed Was approximately 7 feet long and 2 feet wide, the motor 210 was rated at 3A H.P. `when operating at 1800 r.p.m. The belt and pulley drive 212 was chosen to give a 4.5 to l speed reduction. The eccentric drive was arranged to give a 1% inch horizontal throw of the shaker bed and a 1/2 inch Vertical throw when operating at 430 cycles per minute. The top deck 183 was inclined between 5 and 6 degrees to the horizontal.

The dry meal delivered to the hopper by the elevating conveyor 107 had a moisture content of approximately 8% by weight and, when stickwater was added to this meal and the mixture was vibrated, in the manner previously described, pellets that were from 1A to 1/2 inch in diameter were formed.

It Will be appreciated that While the present system is particularly effective for forming pellets from meal, which is generally granular in form, it is not limited to processing only material having that particular form since it is evident that material having other forms, such as powdered material, can be effectively formed into pellets when subjected to a preliminary wetting operation. Accordingly the term granular will be used in the claims to indicate generically any small form of material that lends itself to the formation of pellets in the manner described above. Also, While stickwater is particularly effective for holding the small nucleus of the pellet together during the formation of the pellet, it will be evident that other liquids also have the capacity to retain the granular material together. For example, liquids such as glucose will effectively hold together granular and powdered material. Accordingly the term sticky liquid will be used in the claims to indicate generically any liquid having the capacity to cling to small particles of solid material to form a nucleus for a pellet. Also, it is evident that, while dry meal is used to form a coating, another dry material could be provided to for-m a coating. Thus it is within the scope of the invention to form pellets comprising an edible material, such as chopped nuts held together by a syrupy material such as a glucose and covered with a coating of dry finely chopped cocoanut or the like.

From the foregoing description it will be apparent that the present invention provides a unique method of incorporating high protein extract in cooked meal and thereby makes possible an efficient system for rendering fat-containing solids. The concept of enclosing wet, sticky material in a coating of dry material so that it can be efficiently handled has resulted in an efficient method of drying sticky material. The use of various perforated baffles on an inclined shaker bed provides a particularly effective apparatus for segregating small masses of wet material and for directing dry material onto the wet nuclei to form pellets. Also, since the rate of discharge of stickwater and the quantity of meal with which the stickwater is mixed can be varied, it is possible to so control the formation of the mixture that a maximum amount of stickwater is incorporated in the meal for any speed of vibration of the shaker bed.

While a particular embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it will be understood that 9 the rendering method and apparatus of the present invention is capable of modification and variation without departing from the principles of the invention, and that the scope of the invention should be limited only by the scope and proper interpretation of the claims appended hereto.

Having described our invention, what we claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:

1. Apparatus for processing animal fats and similar material comprising a cooker for subjecting the material to a heating medium to effect the separation of fat, meal, and proteinaceous extract; means for separately collecting the fat, the meal, and the extract; a drier having a pair of adjacent separated inlet openings and a discharge opening; a conveyor for receiving meal from the cooker and discharging it into one of said inlet oepnings; means for receiving substantially dry product from said drier; distributing means for directing a quantity of the extract into the dry product to Wet it; means for separating the wet product into separate smal-l masses; means for coating the masses with substantially dry product to form pellets; conveying means for delivering the pellets into the other of said openings; means for effecting movement of the meal and the pellets from said inlet openings to said discharge opening and moving it through said discharge opening, and means for drawing a stream of hot gases through said drier to urge the pellets and the meal from the cooker longitudinally in said drier to dry it.

2. Apparatus for processing animal fats and similar material comprising a cooker for subjecting the material to steam under pressure to effect the separation of fat, meal, and stickwater; means for separately collecting the fat, the meal, and the stickwater; a drier having inlet and discharge openings; a conveyor for directing the meal into the drier; means for receiving substantially dry meal from said drier, forming a portion of the meal into ya layer of meal and advancing the layer along a predetermined path; stickwater -distributing means positioned above said path; means for delivering the separately collected stickwater to said distributing means, said distributing means having means for discharging a controlled amount of stickwater into a portion of the layer of meal to form a mixture of stickwater and meal; a shaker bed adapted to receive dry meal remaining in said layer and said mixture and agitate it to separate the mixture into small masses of wet meal and advance said masses along a predetermined path, said shaker bed having means for directing dry meal onto said small masses as they move along said path, the movement of said shaker bed being effective to cause the formation of pellets of meal having a core of wet material and a covering of substantially dry material; and means for delivering the pel-lets to said drier to be dried therein as they pass therethrough.

3. Apparatus for forming material int-o pellets comprising a movable support member, means for depositing wet and dry generally granular material on said support member, means for actuating said support member, said support member being effective to move the material in a predetermined direction incident to actuation thereof, and baffle means mounted to extend downwardly and transversely on said support member for separating the Wet material into small masses during actuation of said support member and directing the wet masses back and forth in a direction transverse to said predetermined direction, said baffle means having perforations effective to separate dry material from wet material and direct the main mass of the dry material in said predetermined direction to intercept the transversely moving small masses to coat them and form pellets having a wet core and a substantially dry surface coating.

4. Apparatus for forming wet material into pellets comprising means for wetting a quantity of a dry material to form a wet mixture, a movable material support member, means for depositing the Wet mixture and a second quantity of the same dry granular material on said support member, means for actuating said movable support member, said support member having means effective during movement of said member for dispersing the wet granular material into separate small masses and directing the masses in a predetermined direction along said support member and means for directing said second portion of dry material into contact with the small Wet masses as they move in said direction, causing the dry material to cling to and lcoat the wet `material there-by forming a pellet having a wet core and a substantially dry covering.

5. Apparatus for forming material into pellets comprising a conveyor for moving substantially dry material along a predetermined path, means for controlling the quantity of material being advanced on said conveyor, a liquid dispenser for directing sticky liquid onto the material to wet a portion of the material, means for varying the rate of discharge of liquid, a movable support member adapted to receive the wet and dry material from said conveyor, a drive mechanism connected to said support member for moving said member with a cyclic motion, said support member having means effective during movement of said member for dispersing the wet material into small masses and directing the masses in a predetermined direction along said support member and means for directing dry material into Contact with the small wet masses as they move in said direction, causing the dry material to cling to and coat the wet masses, forming pellets having wet cores and substantially dry coatings.

6. Apparatus for forming material into pellets comprising a conveyor for moving substantially dry generally granular material along a predetermined path, 4a liquid dispenser for directing sticky liquid onto said material to wet a relatively large portion of the material, a movable support member adapted to receive the wet and the dry material from said conveyor, a drive mechanism connected to said support member for moving said member with a cyclic motion, said support member having means effective during movement of said member for dispersing the wet material into small masses and directing the masses in a predetermined direction along said support member and means f-or directing d-ry material into contact with the small wet masses as they move in said direction, causing the dry material to cling to and coat the wet masses, forming pellets having cores of wet material and a surface coating of substantially dry material.

7. Apparatus for forming pellet-s comprising an inclined elongate shaker bed mounted for reciprocating movement in a generally horizontal direction, means for depositing wet and dry granular material on the upper end of said shaker bed, drive means connected to said bed for reciprocating it, and a plurality of baffles mounted on said bed, each baffle extending downwardly and transversely of said shaker bed, said baffles cooperating to define a zigzag guide surface effective to intercept the wet material as it moves toward the lower end of the Ibed and direct it back and forth along paths extending laterally and longitudinally of said bed to separate the wet material into small masses incident to reciprocation of said shaker bed, said ibaffle means having a plurality of apertures permitting dry meal to move generally longitudinally of the bed and across the paths of the Wet material to intercept and cling to said small wet masses during lateral movement thereof, whereby pellets are formed having a wet core and a surface of substantially dry material.

8. Apparatus for processing animal fats and similar material comprising a cooker for subjecting the material to a heating medium to effect the separation of fat, meal, `and stickwater; means for separately collecting the fat, the meal, .and the stickwater; a drier having spaced inlet and discharge openings; a conveyor for receiving meal from the cooker and discharging it into said inlet opening; means for receiving substantially dry product from the discharge opening of said drier; distributing means for directing a quantity of the stickwater into the dry product to wet it and form a wet mixture; means for separating the wet mixture into separate small masses; means for coating the masses with substantially dry product to form pellets; conveying means for delivering the pellets into the inlet opening of said drier; and means for circulating a heating medium through said drier to heat the pellets and the meal from the cooker.

9. Apparatus for processing animal fats and the like comprising a cooker for subjecting the material to a heating medium to effect the separation of fat, meal, and stickwater; means for separately collecting the fat, the meal, and the extract; a drier having means for moving material therethrough and discharging it; means for receiving substantially dry meal from said drier, forming a portion of the mea-l into a layer of meal and advancing the layer along a predetermined path; stickwater distributing means positioned adjacent said path; means for delivering the separately collected stickwater to said distributing means, said distributing means being arranged to discharge a controlled amount of stickwater into the layer of meal to form a mixture of stickwater and meal; a shaker bed adapted to receive dry meal and said mixture and agitate it to separate the meal into small masses of wet meal and advance said masses along a predetermined path, said shaker bed having means for directing dry meal onto said small masses as they move along said path, the movement of said shaker bed being effective to cause the formation of pellets of meal having a core of wet material and a covering of substantially dry material; and means for de- 1 2 llivering the pellets to said drier to be dried therein as they pass therethrough.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS WILLLKM I. PRICE, Primary Examiner.

A. LOUIS MONACELL, B. I. WILHITE, Examiners.

SARAH I. BAICKER, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification99/339, 99/443.00R, 99/355, 425/404, 34/164, 425/217, 118/19, 425/222, 422/285, 209/344, 99/345, 209/267, 366/114, 99/496, 99/357, 422/268, 198/611, 425/199, 99/494, 366/109, 99/353
International ClassificationC11B1/00, A23K1/10, A23N17/00
Cooperative ClassificationA23K1/106, C11B1/00, A23N17/002
European ClassificationA23N17/00B, C11B1/00, A23K1/10C